One of the biggest challenges that new moms experience is the difficulty that comes with trying to find time to exercise. When you have a new baby who requires your attention at all times of the day or night, it can feel practically impossible to squeeze in a workout.
If you’re in this position right now, have you ever considered working out with your baby? You can easily use your baby as a weight while you’re doing a variety of exercises, including the five easy ones described below.
Start by lying face up on the ground. Bend your knees so your feet are flat. Set your baby on your lap, facing you. Hold them in a reclined position as they lie back against your knees, or hold them upright with your fingers wrapped around their torso.
Once your baby feels stable, contract your abdominal muscles and lift your head, neck, and shoulders up off the ground. Exhale as you crunch up and inhale as you lower yourself back down. Do three sets of 15-20 repetitions.
Start in the same position as the regular crunch, with your baby on your lap held upright or reclining against your knees.
Press into the ground with your feet and lift your hips up. Keep your shoulders, head, and neck on the ground. Lift your hips as high as you can without arching your back.
Squeeze your glutes together at the top, then lower yourself back down. Do three sets of 15-20 repetitions.
3. Overhead Press
You can do this exercise seated or standing up. Whichever position you choose, hold your baby at chest level in front of you with your elbows bent.
Straighten your arms as you lift your baby up over your head. Avoid locking out your elbows. When you’ve lifted your baby as high as you can, try to pull your arms back so they’re in line with your ears.
Hold this overhead position for a second, then lower your baby back down. Do three sets of ten repetitions.
4. Bench Press
Lie faceup on the floor again with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold your baby under their arms and have them lie flat on their stomach.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and contract your abdominal muscles to support your back. Then, straighten your arms and press your baby up toward the ceiling. Don’t lock your elbows at the top.
Hold your baby in the pressed position for a second, then lower them back down. Do three sets of ten repetitions.
For some of these exercises, your baby needs to be able to hold their head up on their own. For squats, though, you can easily support their head while doing the exercise.
Hold them close to your chest (or, if they’re older, wear them in a front carrier). Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Inhale and bend your knees, lowering your body into a squat position, keeping your chest lifted and neck neutral.
As you exhale, stand up and squeeze your glutes at the top of the exercise. Do three sets of twelve repetitions.
Bonus Workout Tips
Are you ready to give these five exercises a try? Before you start your next workout, be sure to keep these bonus tips in mind:
- Safety first: Be sure to keep both your safety and your baby’s safety in mind when working out — make sure your form is correct, avoid working out in extreme temperatures, make sure you’re fed and hydrated, and support your baby’s head at all times if they’re not able to hold it up themselves.
- Wear supportive shoes: This is especially important if you’re doing this exercises outdoors or at a park. You may also want to invest in some comfortable insoles for moms on-the-go.
- Schedule your workouts: It’s easy for the day to get away from you when you’re a new mom. To ensure you have time for your workouts on a regular basis, schedule them ahead of time; write it on the calendar or set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget.